For the annals of Things You Can Find a Professor to Say, quoted in a NYT article titled "Donald Trump’s Unstoppable Virality," by Emma Roller.
I'd love to know what Roller asked to get the professor — Bradley M. Okdie, a social psychologist at Ohio State University at Newark — to say that and how many other professors she talked to before getting Okdie to dish up the perfect quote.
With his us vs. them invective and his refusal to denounce hate-filled speech from some of his supporters, Mr. Trump is an echo chamber for certain corners of the far right, as evinced by his popularity with white nationalists and the so-called alt-right movement of mostly online activists.There's zero acknowledgment that Roller is part of the anti-Trump's effort at virality and that she's working on talking to NYT readers about what they already believe. She's putting out concrete negative statements that lack nuance — Trump's "hate-filled" speech, etc. — and must hope for virality.
“Donald Trump is telling them something they already believe, and they’re sharing it because they want other people to believe it too,” Professor [Jeff] Hemsley, who studies virality, said.
But, sure: What a puzzle! Why is Trump so much more viral than everything else that people are trying to get to go viral? Maybe if Roller and others would use the subtle intellect that they like to think they have to analyze what Trump is actually saying rather than instantly repackaging it as white supremacy, nativism, and bigotry, they might learn something about why this man has been so effective.
It's easier to massage your usual readers about how the people who are not them are the ones with the low tolerance for ambiguity.